Sponsored by Merck for Mothers and BlogHer

A few weeks ago at BlogHer ’14 I had the chance to attend a seminar given by Merck for Mothers on global maternal health. It was an eye-opening experience.

We learned that every 10 minutes, a woman in the U.S. nearly dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable. That’s why Merck created Merck for Mothers, a 10-year initiative designed to reduce maternal mortality around the world, including the U.S.

One of the goals of Merck for Mothers is to raise awareness about the importance of pregnant women and their loved ones talking to a healthcare professional about potential pregnancy complications. In the U.S., three of the leading causes of these deaths are:

  • Preeclampsia (severe high blood pressure)
  • Embolism (pulmonary blood clots)
  • Post-partum hemorrhage (severe bleeding during or after giving birth)

A doctor spoke with us about these complications, but the most compelling part of the day was hearing from the random sampling of women in attendance… other bloggers like myself… who had personal experiences with these complications. In a room of about 50 people, several women had experienced pre-eclampsia or post-partum hemorrhaging. Nearly everyone in the room knew someone affected by these complications. (My own sister had hemorrhaging after one of her deliveries.)

Any woman can be at risk for pregnancy complications, regardless of education, fitness level, diet, or general health. Tragically, women still die from complications experienced during pregnancy and childbirth. Merck for Mothers has created an acronym of the three of the leading causes of these deaths: P-reeclampsia, E-mbolism, and P-ost-partum hemorrhage… or “PEP.” They are encouraging women to pledge to have a “PEP Talk” with loved ones who are expecting, and to encourage them to chat with their healthcare professional about potential pregnancy complications and their signs and symptoms. Hopefully, as more conversations happen around these conversations, women can be educated and prepared to respond if symptoms arise, and more women can seek the treatment they need to reduce maternal mortality.

You can visit MerckforMothers.com or Merck for Mothers’ Facebook page or Twitter page to learn more.

Merck, through its Merck for Mothers program, and BlogHer have sponsored this post. It is for informational purposes only and not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.